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The Prisoner

Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

The Prisoner: The Uncertainty Machine (Part 4) The Prisoner
"The Uncertainty Machine" Part 4
The Prisoner: The Uncertainty Machine #4
Titan Comics
Writer: Peter Milligan
Original plot: David Leach
Artist: Colin Lorimer
Colorist: Joana Lafuente
Letterer: Simon Bowland
Cover: Colin Lorimer
September 2018


Agent Breen confronts the truth behind the Village.


Characters appearing or mentioned in this issue


Agent Breen (Number 6, also called Number 0 by Carey)

Agent Carey (the new Number 2, dies in this issue...but not)

Number 1

Mr. Smith


Section (name revealed to be Sir Reginald Smythe) 


Didja Know?


The Titan Comics version of The Prisoner is a comic book mini-series reimagining of the classic 1967 TV series of the same name. 




Didja Notice?


On the "Information is power" page that recaps the previous issue, the VR manipulation that Breen was subjected to by the Village is referred to as "mind-fracking" technology. "Fracking" is a means of extracting oil and gas from the ground, so in this case, the Village is extracting (or attempting to) information from Breen. "Mind-fracking" may well also be a reference to the expletive "frak" or "frack" in Battlestar Galactica, it being the series' version of "fuck"; so, Breen has been "mind-fucked".


When the new Number 2 (Carey) is killed in her Village office, a message tube is received stating her employment is terminated, "signed" by Number One Solutions, 55 Twyford Place EC1. There are several businesses going by the name Number One Solutions around the English-speaking world, but the one here is fictitious. The street address is a real one in London, England; the EC1 at the end of the address is a postcode in that area of London.


On page 6, Breen steps outside of a gigantic sphere, having followed Carey's dying words on how to get out. Outside, he finds three unattended vehicles available to him. One is the classic Lotus Seven driven by Number 6 in the original 1967 TV series. Another is a Mini-Moke, the passenger vehicles largely used throughout the Village. The last is an Austin Princess Limousine Hearse, the same model that stalked Number 6 to his home after his resignation at the beginning of "Arrival" in in the original 1967 TV series. Appropriately, Breen chooses the Lotus. 


The top panel of page 8 presents an aerial view of London that appears to be above Trafalgar Square. The London Eye is seen in the distance in the top left corner. London


Driving back to London, Breen checks into a cheap hotel near Liverpool Street Station.


On page 8, Breen purchases a Glock 26 pistol. This is a real world subcompact pistol introduced by Glock in 1997. 


business sign On page 9, Breen reaches the building housing Number One Solutions. A sign on the front of the building lists all of the businesses inside. Several of them refer to creators of this comic book: Lafuente Lights (colorist Joana Lafuente), Lovely Leach, Inc. (editor David Leach), Lorimer's Leathers (artist Colin Lorimer), and Milligan and M'Lady (writer Peter Milligan). Mark E. Smith may refer to the punk rock English singer/songwriter. I'm not sure what "Megan and Mason" may refer to.


As he enters the Number One Solutions building, Breen uses a sama vritti breathing technique to keep his heart rate steady. Sama vritti is a breathing technique of Hatha yoga in which inhalation and exhalation each last the same amount of time, meant to be calming and centering.


On page 10, panel 2, Mr. Smith is seen to have a black-and-white photo portrait of Queen Elizabeth II on his wall.


On page 14, Number 1 is revealed to be IBM Electronic Calculation Punch Machine Number One. "The ultimate and biggest punch card machine in the world," according to Mr. Smith. IBM is an international computer manufacturer founded in 1911.


On page 15, a number of protest/political slogans are seen on a potpourri of hand-held demonstrator signs. Many of these are slogans that have been used in the real world: "TRUMP: MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN", "END THE WAR BEFORE IT ENDS YOU", "DIGNITY, RESPECT, AND JUSTICE FOR ALL", "SMASH THE SYSTEM", "BREXIT IS RACIST".


On page 16, panel 3, Breen is walking through the file archive seen in the opening titles of the original 1967 TV series.


Breen becomes the new Number 2 at the end of the story.

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